A game that felt on the verge of becoming unhinged spiraled out of control in the late innings, and as you might expect, the White Sox bullpen played a big part.
What made this stand part from a 2014 bullpen collapse was that the bullpen and baserunning got sucked into it, too.
The White Sox had just taken a 6-4 lead thanks to a spirited four-run seventh. Robin Ventura took the ball from a resilient Scott Carroll and gave it to Ronald Belisario.
Belisario gave up a one-out single, then plunked Josh WIllingham with a sinker that missed its target by almost two home plates. Kurt Suzuki then bounced a single through the right side to make it a 6-5 game, and Ventura went to Jake Petricka, perhaps hoping for a five-out save.
Petricka got a weak groundout from Kennys Vargas for the second out, but he split the plate with a 1-0 sinker to Oswaldo Arcia, who smoked a liner to left. Alejandro De Aza's first step wasn't precise enough, and his line didn't give him a good angle to account for the slice. He tried making the catch with a spinning effort, but the ball went in and out of his glove. Two runs scored to give the Twins a 7-6 lead.
The Sox weren't dead, though. Adrian Nieto gave the Sox a tough PA to draw a two-out walk, and he moved to third when Adam Eaton's laser went through the glove of third baseman Trevor Plouffe. Unfortunately, Eaton tried moving to second, and Eduardo Nunez cut down Eaton with the throw at second. Ventura came out to challenge, but the review upheld the call. The inning, and the Sox' last best chance, ended with a TOOTBLAN.
It was the last best chance because Daniel Webb gave up a solo shot in the ninth to make a comeback even tougher. Paul Konerko buoyed the Sox' hopes with a two-out single, but Alexei Ramirez grounded out to end the game.
And if tonight didn't end poorly enough, well, Jose Abreu's 21-game hitting streak ground to a halt with an 0-for-3 night. He was walked twice -- both were pretty much intentional walks, although only one counted as such.
Eaton's blunder took some of the shine off a great night for him, which drove another strong performance by the offense. He went 4-for-5 with a double, and the Sox put 16 runners on base to keep the pressure on Minnesota, briefly erasing a lead they held for the first 6½ innings.
Carroll gave up two runs in the first, thanks in part to a tight strike zone by Gary Cederstrom, and probably some of Nieto's receiving. He walked Santana to start the game despite throwing strike-looking pitches, followed by a single and a double to put the Twins up 1-0 before he recorded an out. A double play made it 2-0, and Carroll spent the early going scuffling.
An RBI double by Plouffe gave the Twins a 3-0 lead, but the Sox started answering. An Eaton double put two runners in scoring position for Gordon Beckham, who drove in one with a groundout to second, cutting the lead to 3-1.
The Twins had another run-scoring double play in them in the fourth, but Ramirez answered with a solo shot off Yohan Pino to keep the deficit at two.
The Sox seemed primed to break out against Pino all night, and it finally happened in the seventh. Dayan Viciedo led off with a single, and De Aza dropped a perfect bunt down the third-base line for another base hit. Nieto bunted to move them up 90 feet, and up came Eaton.
Ron Gardenhire went to the bullpen to bring in lefty Brian Duensing, and Eaton blew up that move on the first pitch by driving a two-run double to the left-center gap, tying the game. And when Gardenhire went to righty Jared Burton to face Beckham, Beckham foiled that move on one pitch with a double off the wall in right. Eaton scored with a slick slide to give the Sox a 5-4 lead, and after an intentional walk to Abreu and a popout by Dunn, Alexei Ramirez cashed in Beckham with a single to right for a two-run lead that didn't last long.
*Beckham went 2-for-5 for his first multi-hit game in exactly a month.
*Carroll overcame his early issues to post a respectable line (7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K). The length of the start was a welcome sight, considering he had been battling blister problems.
*Ramirez committed an error in the second by bobbling a grounder, but he erased it by starting a double play that also featured a sensational turn by Beckham.